Las Vegas Aces forward A’ja Wilson scored 20 points and hauled in eight rebounds to lead her team to an 83-77 win over the Washington Mystics on Wednesday night at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
It was the second win in a row for the Aces who moved into a second-place tie with the Mystics, Phoenix Mercury and Los Angeles Sparks, at 3-2.
Las Vegas also received 20 points from Danielle Robinson off the bench, while Dearica Hamby recorded a double-double with 12 points and 13 boards.
Washington’s Emma Meesseman posted a game-high 24 points and 13 rebounds in defeat.
Seeing that Las Vegas held Washington, the second-best offense in the WNBA, to 77 points (12.4 points below average), the Aces’ defense is to be commended along with their offense.
Aces head coach Bill Laimbeer said after the game:
Meesseman is a quality basketball player, and she got hers. But if she’s getting hers, then that means their three ballers and guards are not getting theirs. Our bigs helped out stopping the guards, which opened up Meesseman and a little (Myisha) Hines-Allen inside, and that’s OK.
A made floater by Kayla McBride with 1:56 remaining in the fourth was key because it gave the Aces a 78-72 lead about a minute after an Ariel Atkins 3-pointer had cut the lead to four. The Mystics cut it to four again with 1:38 to go, but the momentum was all but gone after McBride’s make. Defense and free throws did the trick for Las Vegas in the final 1:38.
Wilson is currently averaging 19.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Robinson, on the other hand, broke her season high in points by 12.
Meesseman had only taken three 3-point attempts, with no makes, prior to Wednesday, but made her first of the season and finished 3-of-7 shooting from distance.
“Vegas seems to bring out the best in her,” Mystics head coach Mike Thibault said with regards to the flash of “Playoff Emma” that was on display. The Belgian power forward was 11-of-17 from beyond the arc when the two teams met in the semifinals last year.
“But it’s partly how (the Aces play) too,” Thibault added. “And then they finally went to switching and doubling and it got a little tougher as it went along in the game. But it was good to see her be aggressive. We’re going to need that.”
The Mystics have a date with the winless New York Liberty on Friday, while the Aces will square off against a fellow preseason front-runner — the Los Angeles Sparks — later that night.
Wednesday’s other action
Big night for Bridget Carleton helps Minnesota Lynx demolish New York Liberty 92-66
Entering Wednesday’s matchup with the Liberty, Carleton had 13 points in 12 career games, and exploded for 25 points and seven rebounds against New York (0-5). Lexie Brown, in her first game back from concussion protocol, added 15 points and swiped seven steals, the latter of which set a new record in Lynx history. Minnesota (4-1) is now tied for first place with the Seattle Storm and Chicago Sky.
Candace Parker’s double-double helps Los Angeles Sparks top Indiana Fever 86-75
Parker notched 18 points and 11 boards, while Kelsey Mitchell’s 24-point effort was to no avail. Chelsea Gray and Riquna Williams scored 16 points and 13 points, respectively, for the winners. The Fever fell to 2-3.